Information Resources Inc. (IRI), Chicago, and SPINS, Schaumburg, Ill., created SPINS NaturaLink, a new segmentation of the total U.S. population that focuses on how shoppers think about, purchase and use natural, organic and eco-friendly products. Consumers increasingly are embracing natural and organic products and often are as concerned about what is not in the products they buy as much as what is in them, IRI notes. SPINS NaturaLink is designed to assist consumer packaged goods (CPG) manufacturers and retailers in generating new levels of growth through a better understanding of these shopper needs.

“SPINS NaturaLink identifies seven distinct consumer segments based on lifestyle, organic/natural purchasing history, attitudes toward organic/natural products, the importance of physical and emotional category/product needs, and demographics,” said Robert I. Tomei, president of consumer and shopper marketing for IRI, in a statement. “The segmentation offers an important set of insights for leveraging existing natural/organic buyers and attracting new shoppers to these products.”

Two shopper segments, “True Believers” and “Enlightened Environmentalists,” offer outsized opportunities for manufacturers and retailers, the companies note. Each group represents 9 percent of the U.S. population, but together they account for 46 percent of all natural/organic product sales, they say.

True Believers are passionate about staying fit and healthy. They are focused on trying new things and serving as strong role models for their children. They also are strong believers in the benefits of natural and organic products. True Believers enjoy a median income of $65,000, have an average age of 40, attended college and, in some cases, embarked on post-graduate studies.

Enlightened Environmentalists are passionate about the environment and making good choices to support it. These shoppers are making a real effort to make healthier choices and will go out of their way to shop at stores that carry natural and organic products. Enlightened Environmentalists are older than True Believers, averaging 63 years old, attended graduate school, and have a median income of $57,000.

“These two groups are ‘power shoppers’ when it comes to natural/organic products,” said Tony Olson, chief executive officer of SPINS, in a statement. “Manufacturers and retailers have a significant opportunity to better understand and tap into their needs, wants and motivations — not only to drive sales volume but also to continue to deliver the innovative products that shape our industry. At the same time, it is important to motivate shoppers in other segments to expand their knowledge of natural/organic products to stimulate buying behavior and ensure long-term growth.”

The following five segments comprise the remaining 54 percent of sales.

Strapped Seekers — This group likes to try new things and live a healthy lifestyle but knows they should make healthier choices than they do. With a median income of $45,000 and a median age of 45, these shoppers represent all levels of education.

Healthy Realists — Being healthy and fit and making exercise a priority is important to these shoppers. They often are the first among their friends to try something new but can have difficulty deciding whether to buy healthy or traditional products. Their average age is 39, they have attended college, and they earn a median income of $65,000.

Indifferent Traditionalists —Leading a simple life with few passions, this group might try healthy products but do not consider themselves on the leading edge of change. With a median income of $46,000 that skews under $25,000, these shoppers are 65 years old on average and have a high school education.

Struggling Switchers — These shoppers are focused on staying within their budgets, have suffered during the last recession, but know they should be eating healthier and getting more exercise. With a median income of $56,000, they are 39 years old on average and attended all levels of school.

Resistant Non-believers —With very little desire to explore other options for things to buy, Resistant Non-believers stay loyal to the products they know. They have completed high school, have an average age of 52, and have a median income of $48,000.

IRI and SPINS completed the SPINS NaturaLink segmentation in October 2013. The two organizations surveyed respondents, primarily from IRI’s National Consumer Panel, which represents the total U.S. population and not just consumers who are already using natural and organic products. The survey topics covered a broad range of attitudinal, behavioral and demographic information. IRI supplemented the segmentation by integrating shopper behavior information.

IRI and SPINS will offer a webinar titled “Capturing Growth with Shoppers in the Natural and Organic Space” on Oct. 22 at 11 a.m. Central time. The webinar will offer an in-depth look at how to identify and activate natural and organic shoppers across the total U.S. population to help achieve differential growth within this segment. It will be led by Carl Edstrom, principal of survey solutions at IRI, and Kathryn Peters, executive vice president of SPINS. To register for the webinar, click here.